You know that moment when you’ve just had a baby, and the nurse hands you the sweetest little bundle? That moment when you feel everything you ever knew about your heart split wide open and undone? That moment when a brand-new love takes shape and goes to work lacing it back together?
We reach forward with outstretched arms, officially entering motherhood. But the truth is, we’re embracing more than just our new child. Something that’s possibly even harder to set down than the squishy baby in our arms.
It’s the motherload.
What’s that? Well, everything. It’s very literally everything.
It’s the thought ticker that runs through your mind and heart, one you unknowingly accept as you pull that first babe in close. From that moment on, whatever you might be doing outwardly, the motherload is at work inwardly. (Sometimes, even as you sleep - waking you to run its ticker through your 3am exhausted and defenseless brain.)
It’s the motherload.
It’s an ever-present concern for their health and safety. For their comfort. For their emotional well-being. It’s being so deeply connected, that you’re more than just aware of how your child’s feeling, you actually feel it too. It’s always wondering how you should adjust, respond, react, support. It’s questioning yourself. It’s questioning the world.
But it’s also grocery lists. It’s everyone’s appointments for everything. It’s prayers whispered while you grab a quick shower, and the tears that sometimes come with them. It’s unloading the dishwasher while trying to sort out the family schedule. It’s seeing a million tiny jobs waiting in every room you walk through, jobs that somehow mostly go invisible to everyone else. It’s pushing your child on the swing while knowing you’ve got to return a work email or get back to the teacher. It’s being sick, but carrying on as the ticker of needs just keeps going. It’s getting the rest of the family loaded into the car and then running in and out as you check off the list – did you feed the dog, grab the diaper bag, pack the snacks, turn off the lights, lock the back door, remember the present.
It’s the motherload. And it’s always going.
Last week for me… it was my youngest boys asking me to swim with them, while my thoughts weighed heavy and relentless with a constant stream of every task waiting. As I listened to their pleas for me to join them in the pool, it hit just how hard I was struggling inside to lay down that motherload – so I could enjoy this moment of motherhood! Honest to goodness, such a mental battle ensued to put down that list running through my head and share a splash with those sweet babes. And it all seemed so worthy! After all, if I set down the motherload, no one else was magically going to appear and pick it up for me. I felt the anxiety start to creep in, telling myself that if I put it down for a bit, it’ll be even bigger when I pick it back up.
Fortunately, the big eyes and precious voices of my boys won. I loosened my grip on the motherload, let it slip to the side, and I jumped in the pool.
I don’t think words can quite accurately express the happy that spread across those little faces. We played in the water and then eventually found our way to the tubes. They took turns climbing into my lap and we floated, soaking in the warmth of the sunshine falling on us… just a mama and her babes. Over and over they found my eyes and said, “You’re the best mommy,” “I love you mommy,” “This is so fun mommy.”
My heart about melted. Because I almost missed it.
That darn motherload.
It’s real. It’s heavy. It’s hard to put down.
Mamas, sometimes we have to put it down.
Because the motherload? It’s pretty darn effective in reminding us to get all the jobs done, but when it comes to motherhood, we get to enJOY too.
So whenever you can, as often as you can, set it down... and embrace the moment instead.